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Big Music Needs to be Broken Up

RON KNOX  |   MARCH 16, 2021

Covid shattered the music industry, but it's monopoly power that’s impeding its recovery. In Wired, Senior Researcher Ron Knox explains how the monopolization of three chokepoints in the distribution of music — record labels, streaming, and live venues — is making it impossible for all but the top artists to reach listeners. To restore the industry’s diversity and creativity, we need antitrust reform.
Read the article.


Is Amazon Picking Winners and Losers Among America’s Cities?

MARCH 4, 2021

On our latest Building Local Power podcast, journalist Alec MacGillis joined Stacy Mitchell and host Jess Del Fiacco to talk about his new book, Fulfillment. It’s about how Amazon is fueling a growing divide in the fortunes of wealthy and poor places, and what it means for national unity.
Listen to the podcast.


  • Join Stacy for a LETS Lab webinar about Amazon’s Stranglehold, which has only intensified during the pandemic. Register here for the March 26th event. 
  • Kennedy Smith is speaking at the virtual Main Street Now conference on April 13. She will touch on the unique opportunities of this moment for sustaining independent businesses. Register here.


  • The New Yorker cited ILSR’s work as inspiration to a Kansas bookstore owner waging a campaign against Amazon while building a business deeply planted in his community.
  • Politico quoted Stacy on President Biden’s nomination of Lina Khan for FTC commissioner. “What we’ve been seeing from the Biden administration is they get that [they] cannot repeat the Obama playbook. That would be a disaster for the country and democracy.”
  • As Amazon faces a looming union fight in Alabama, Stacy explains to both Vice and The Seattle Times why the corporation is flooding the country with $15 minimum wage ads. “It’s a sleight of hand,” she says, designed to obscure Amazon's brutal working conditions and aggressive anti-union tactics. 
  • Bloomberg cited Kennedy Smith about the push for local governments to buy local. “There are a lot of cities that are becoming more aggressive about making sure that their procurement dollars go to local businesses.” 
  • WIRED quoted Stacy about how North Dakota’s preference for independent pharmacies enabled its speedy vaccine rollout. “North Dakota has been able to effectively marshal local institutions to meet a sudden challenge.” 
  • Kennedy Smith interviewed Mindy Thompson Fullilove about her book, Main Street: How a City’s Heart Connects Us All. As Fullilove describes, “When we walk around, not only can we see the ways that racism and inequality have shaped U.S. cities, but also we can see...the millions of ways that people shape their places.”


Nearly 400 people tuned into our lively town hall on February 22nd, which detailed how Amazon’s growing dominance hurts independent businesses and what Congress must do to curb monopoly power. The event featured Congressman David Cicilline, along with leading antitrust experts and small business advocates. 
Watch the event.


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